One of the topics discussed by Clayton Christensen in his book, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (2011), focuses on the use of video games in the classroom (p. 220). This struck a chord with me, because prior to my position as Sand Springs Virtual Academy Director, I worked as a professional development trainer for teachers. One of the classes I created in this position focused on the use of video games as a learning tool in the classroom. Teachers have been using the Wii console as a learning tool in various forms for the past 5 to 6 years. The class focused on the use of the Wii, but actually led to a greater discussion of online games, computer based games, and video games as training tools in business. My research led me to read a few books that teachers might find interesting:
- Gadgets, Games, and Gizmos for Learning by Karl Kapp
- Karl Kapp can also be found at http://www.kaplaneduneering.com/kappnotes/ if you are interested.
- Playing to Learn: Video Games in the Classroom by David Hutchison
More recently, I ran across this post on the website, Good Education (http://www.good.is/). It discusses how a teacher is using Angry Birds to teach Physics, and documenting his progress and methods every step of the way.
As I read through this article, I realized how when we play games like this one, we do a great deal of planning and hypothesizing on the fly without even knowing it. If kids were to truly dissect a video game like angry birds and apply physics to the situation, it would open up a whole new level of understanding and enjoyment in the subject.
I knew that the use of video games in the classroom was a new trend, and a successful one at that, but I hadn’t really thought of them as a form of disruptive innovation in teaching before. Now I am paying more attention. As I look at new teaching methods, I have a different view. I tend to dissect them, compare them to older methods, and assess whether they are effective. Guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks. And I guess as old dogs, we need to keep looking for new tricks.
Christensen, C.M., Horn, M.B., & Johnson, C.W. (2011). Disrupting class: How innovation will change the way the world learns. New York: McGraw Hill.